It’s the time of year when the vignerons, or winegrowers trim their vines. On the lovely, sunny days, I’m jealous of them, out in the fresh air. On the cold, gray days, with piercing rains and howling winds, they’re out, working, and I feel guilty that they have to go through so much so I can have a glass of wine at dinner.
To trim, or tailler, the vines requires a kind of zen patience. The vineyards are so vast. Row after row of gnarled stalks, called pieds, or feet, extend to the horizon. The poor winegrowers start in one corner and work their way slowly across.
Everything about wine takes time. Whether it’s trimming the vines, waiting for the wine to ferment to be bottled, waiting again for It to age or tending the vineyards for decades for them to produce truly excellent wine. Just look at these pieds. They have seen generations.
The vines must suffer to produce good fruit. Poor soil. Rocks. Not enough water. They send roots down, down, to find what they need. It isn’t so different from a child who has everything he wants and, while probably a really nice, sweet kid, doesn’t have the kind of character that comes from having to make hard choices or not getting everything he wants. The hardship makes success so much sweeter.
The fallen branches, by the way, are called sarments, and when used to make a fire for grilling, they add wonderful flavor.